increase in speed and commensurate side-to-side motion coming into and out of the
turns, I gasped, instinctively tightening my
grip on the cables inside the sled. I’ve never
gone skydiving or fallen off a cliff, but I can
imagine those experiences are something
like what I felt as we dropped out of Corner
11, known to competitors as Shiver. Sliding
Centre officials advise guests to keep their
heads up and their eyes open throughout;
and I did that, but as our sled hurtled
through the next few turns and the g-forces
increased, I had only the faintest notion of
where I might be.
Two seconds after we made the sweeping
right-hand turn that is Corner 16, a.k.a.
Thunderbird, I suddenly realized we were
travelling uphill. At that moment, I felt and
heard the scraping of the metal brakes on
the ice. Over the next second-and-a-half, we
ground to a halt. After a collective “whoop,”
Val, Jordan and I piled one at a time out of
the sled, with our eyes the size of dinner
plates and broad smiles on our faces. Our
time: 41.50 seconds … third fastest of the
14 sleds on that day. Our top speed: More
than 123 km/h. Chris shook our hands.
We took off our helmets and the four of us
were ushered over to an Olympic-themed
backdrop to have our photo taken. The
butterflies finally stopped fluttering.
“There have been multiple times where
people were absolutely scared at the top.
They’re not sure they want to go down, and
sometimes think of backing out,” Spring
said. “But I just try to reassure them that
they’ll be fine and when they get done,
they’ll be thankful that they did it and
experienced something they can’t accomplish
anywhere else in life.”